Factbox: Who is Stormy Daniels and what did she say happened with Trump?

May 10, 2024 - 11:38 AM
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A combination photo shows adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels speaking in New York City, and then- U.S. President Donald Trump speaking in Washington, Michigan, U.S. on April 16, 2018 and April 28, 2018 respectively. . (Reuters/Brendan McDermid (L) Reuters/Joshua Roberts/File Photo)

Porn star Stormy Daniels has testified in a Manhattan courtroom that she had sex with Donald Trump in 2006, an encounter that ultimately led to the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

READ: Five takeaways from Stormy Daniels’ testimony at Donald Trump’s trial

New York prosecutors have charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records, saying he tried to cover up a $130,000 payment to Daniels to silence her before the 2016 election that made him president. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Here are some facts about Daniels, 45, and her alleged relationship with Trump, 77.

Stormy Daniels, Adult film star

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she began dancing as a stripper and appearing in pornographic videos after an impoverished childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where her single mother would sometimes disappear for days at a time. She found success in adult entertainment as a performer in videos and behind the camera, winning 11 industry best director awards and two best screenplay awards.

READ: Stormy Daniels: Woman at center of Trump indictment is porn star-turned-ghostbuster

What does she say happened with Trump?

Appearing as a prosecution witness on Tuesday, Daniels testified that she met Trump in July 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament held in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She said he invited her to dinner at his hotel suite, where he greeted her wearing satin pajamas.

Daniels testified that Trump told her that she reminded him of his daughter because she is smart, blond and beautiful and because people underestimated his daughter as well.

She said the two discussed possibly doing business together, but she grew frustrated when he repeatedly interrupted her during dinner and asked him, “Are you always this arrogant and pompous?” Trump then dared her to spank him with a magazine, she said, and she obliged. Daniels has said in other accounts that it was a golf magazine with his picture on the cover.

Daniels said she excused herself at one point to use the bathroom, and when she returned Trump was sitting on the bed in his underwear. “What did I misread to get here?” she recalled thinking.

She said Trump did not coerce her into having sex, though she thought there was an “imbalance of power.” Daniels said Trump stood in front of the door and told her: “This is the only way you’re getting out of the trailer park.”

She said she blacked out briefly, though she had not used drugs or alcohol, and woke up on the bed with most of her clothes and her shoes off, but her bra still on. She said they had sex in the missionary position and Trump did not use a condom.

“I didn’t know how I got there, I was trying to think about anything other than what was happening,” she testified.

She said she left quickly after it was over. She said she and Trump never had dinner.

Trump has acknowledged meeting Daniels at the tournament but has denied ever having had sex with her, or speaking with her afterward.

What does she say happened afterward?

Daniels said she saw Trump several times at public events in the years that followed and hoped he would cast her on his reality TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice.” She said he tried to have sex with her again at one point, but she told him she was having her period.

After the TV role did not materialize, Daniels said she fell out of touch with Trump. She told her story about the encounter to the tabloid inTouch in 2011 for $15,000 but the story was never published, she said.

She said she was threatened after that in a Las Vegas parking lot by a man who warned her not to discuss her encounter with Trump. Fearing for her safety, she said she worked with a lawyer to get a blog to take down a story about the encounter.

Daniels said she stayed silent in the years that followed but decided to go public when Trump launched his presidential bid in 2015. “There’s a big difference between a reality TV star and somebody running for office,” she testified.

How did Daniels end up getting paid by Trump?

Daniels and a lawyer who worked with her, Keith Davidson, both have testified that they sought to sell her story to media outlets but found little interest until the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, when audio from the “Access Hollywood” show was made public that included Trump speaking of grabbing women by their genitals.

Davidson and Daniels have said they offered their story to the National Enquirer tabloid. The publisher of the publication, which is known for its stories about celebrity scandals, had an informal agreement with Trump to suppress unflattering stories about him.

Davidson and Daniels were referred to Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who negotiated a $130,000 payment to her to buy her silence. Daniels said she backed out of the deal at one point after Cohen delayed payment, before signing it on Oct. 28, 2016, just days before the election. She said she was left with $96,000 after Davidson and publicist Gina Rodriguez took fees.

What happened after that?

Daniels initially honored the non-disclosure agreement. For instance, she declined to comment when the Wall Street Journal reached out to her for a Nov. 4, 2016, article that mentioned her relationship with Trump. She issued a written denial when the paper published a more detailed account in 2018.

She testified that her life descended into “chaos” after the Journal published its story about the hush money.

Daniels sued Trump and Cohen seeking to have the non-disclosure agreement invalidated. Trump’s lawyers said they would not seek to enforce it, and the lawsuit was dismissed.

She hired another lawyer, Michael Avenatti, and filed an unsuccessful defamation lawsuit against Trump in 2018 that awarded the then-president $100,000 in legal fees.

Daniels has since gone public about her encounter with Trump in media interviews, a book and a documentary. Though she has earned money from some of these ventures, she also has yet to pay the legal fees she owes to Trump, which have grown to roughly half a million dollars.

“I will go to jail before I pay a penny,” Daniels wrote on social media in 2022.

READ: Explainer: Why Donald Trump could be president again despite his legal troubles

—Compiled by Andy Sullivan in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham